Thursday, December 18, 2014

Down to Stems and Seeds Edition...

…at least, that's what we say in Colorado. Yes, I've "pretty much" come off the road, but there were still a lot of lose ends to wrap up. So I'm just getting back from Tulsa after a week of TBD openings and closingS, DRTV videos, SHOT SHOT TV and an interview for the upcoming gun free zone documentary from OUTDOOR CHANNEL. NOW, I'm almost finished for the year! Sort of…

For SHOT SHOW TV, Stag's Jesse Tischauser bought one of the new Stag 9T 9mm ARs. It is a very nice little rifle! The designers at Stag made the decision to build a 9mm from the ground up. The lower is designed for the standard Colt 9mm magazines — not a mag well block, but a dedicated receiver. Stag also redesigned the bolt, buffer system, the hammer, mag catch, dust cover and brass deflector. Stag's also rolling out 10, 20 and their own branded 32 round 9mm magazines. Jesse had just gotten the gun, so we spent some futzing time taking it apart until we had to finally do the television stuff. I may have to add this one to the collection.


Interestingly enough, the day before I'd done a couple of pieces for DRTV (to air with TBD's new season that begins NewYear's Eve) on my old Spike's 9mm pistol, which runs off Colt mags via a mag block, and the JP GMR-13, which runs off Glock 9mm magazines. I'm kinds thinking that this year might well be the year of 9mm carbines. TTAG's readers' choice award for rifle of the year is a Sig Sauer MPX, even though it's technically not available yet. The CZ Scorpion EVOIII created quite the hot flash (photo above) even without the hot Czech model. The TAVOR 9mm conversion kits and Beretta Storms are flying out the door. Bob Campbell did a nice wrap-up on pistol caliber carbines for defense in the CTD newsletter earlier this year.

I think there's probably 3 primary drivers here. The first is the 9mm handgun is going through a renaissance, with even the FBI looking at going back to the nine. Secondly, there's a lot of 9mm ammunition around…it's easier to find than .22 and cheaper than 5.56 (Russian 9mm is about $0.21 a round). Thirdly, 9mm carbines work great in the self-defense context — less blast, noise and recoil than a 5.56 (which is still, IMHO, an excellent self-defense choice), easy to shoot, accurate, etc. Interesting!

I also got a closer look at DoubleStar's .308 platform that I handled at last year's SHOT. I have one on order because I have a thing for AR-10 platform guns, and my precision 5.56 from DoubleStar is a real tack driver. Marshal and I can take the .308 DoubleStars to FTW early next year and wring them out at a distance.

Anyhow anyhow, good to have survived another season. While I was sitting around the hotel room in Tulsa, I caught up on reading master instructor John Farnam's Quips, a wonderful collection of thoughts from a brilliant mind. This one in particular caught my mind:
“Safety” is a word we’ve invented to describe a non-existent phenomenon. Our lives need to be a daring adventure, as they all end the same way!
Amen, John...





Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Ruger Composite Stock GUNSITE Scout Rifle...

I wasn't exactly bubbling with enthusiasm for the 5.56 Ruger GUNSITE Scout, largely because I just do don't need a rifle in that niche…I have tack-driving, lightweight ARs in that caliber. I am, OTOH, bubbling with enthusiasm for the newest GUNSITE Scout, this one with a composite stock. Here's Ed Head's review on DRTV.

As Ed mentions, we always wanted a composite stock for the gun, but it would raise the cost too much. With Ruger now in the composite stock business big time for the Ruger American, it makes sense to bring that technology to the Scout, one of the best-selling bolt guns in recent years. The composite stock brings the weight from 7.1 lbs to 6.25, well under the Cooper 6.6 lb baseline.

Just as , or maybe even more, important is the replacement of the Mini-14 styled flash suppressor with an efficient muzzle brake. I had a discussion with Ken Jorgenson at Ruger several months back on mounting the super-efficient muzzle brake found on my .300 Win Mag Guide Gun on the Scout. Ken reported back that the engineering guys didn't think the same brake would work well on the Scout, but that they'd "give it some thought."

"Give it some thought" at Ruger has a way of translating into new products, and that's the case here. I'm going to whine and cry and see if I can get one from my old Scout...



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday Cowboy Round-Up

I did better on at least a part of Saturday's cowboy match, indicating that I got at least one (or 2) holes in the dike patched up. Unfortunately, one leak continues to our water (and seconds).I felt good with the rifle…I was shooting the rifle as well or better that I'ver ever shot. Part of it is more focus on the standing position (thank you, The Art of the Rifle!) and teaching/forcing myself to see only what I need to see before pulling the trigger (thank you Brian Enos!).

I made a couple of mistakes with the shotgun, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I tried to save a second by firing before the gun was properly shouldered and I pad the obvious price — a miss — for that. Went from what should have been a 21 second run to a 30 second run.

The bigger issue is my pistol. I'm setting up well for the first shot/s, but I'm losing a bit of control going from target to target, which translates into missed shots. As I've talked about before, steel targets that aren't square or round present an interesting challenge in perception. As we sequence between targets I believe our "processing unit," a.k.a. our brain, looks at a diamond or heart or random-shaped target and treats it like a circular plate with a diameter equal to the largest linear distance of the target. This does;t just apply to cowboy…the random-shaped steel targets at the winter sniper match at Rockcastle last year were toughies, according to the shooters I talked to (you saw John Snow run it on SHOOTING GALLERY last season).

Anyway, it adds some sloppiness to the system, and it gives me something to work on inside not that it looks like winter is setting in. I may change out to a different set of pistols. I usually go with a set of Ruger Vaqero SASS Cowboys, a matched set of .357s Ruger put out several years back. Ken Griner did the work on them, and they are indeed workhorses. Couple of years ago I got all spun up and had my set of smaller framed .357 Blackhawks rebarreled by Slick McClade, going to 4-inch octagonal barrels for a little more weight up front. He also added brass SureHit sights, "slip-covers" for the standard from sight and a much less expensive route than adding a brass front sight blade. The actions were already excellent.

I love the way the guns point, but they've been problem children since they were reblued after 20-30K rounds. It's a base pin problem, I think…I thought I had it fixed, but it snuck back up on me. I need to suck it up and fit a set of Belt Mountain base pins…not a big deal, but just not on my radar lately. I'll order a pair when I finish this post.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Small Suggestion...

Maybe we should use "enhanced interrogation techniques" on Eric Holder as soon as he leaves office to find out what he really knew about Fast and Furious. And let's not forget Hillary Clinton and Benghazi…yep, fire up the old waterboard! Jonathon Gruber? Lois Lerner? Valerie Jarrett? Al Sharpton? Maybe we could do an American Idol type thing…call it American Idle maybe…have have people vote on who we'd like to see strapped on the big board next, televise the whole thing. The ratings would be HUGE, I tell you…HUGE!

And since school-age kids can vote, I'd say Michelle Obama and her school lunch program may be in their sights. I suggest something like this for a little variety:


Instead of a stream or river, though, I'd suggest lowering her into a vat of brussels sprouts. Now that's torture! Meanwhile:

Would-be carjackers in Florida couldn't drive stick shift

OCALA, Fla – Police in Florida say two would-be carjackers almost got away with a vehicle in Ocala but didn't know how to drive a stick shift.

This gives a whole new spin on "Drive It Like You Stole It."


Subtly segueing into seriousness, the Christian Science Monitor, which has never met a gun control lie they wouldn't publish and herald as revealed truth, seems puzzled that the whole nation has changed into a bunch of redneck peckerheads clinging to their guns:
A dramatic swing in public opinion when it comes to guns and gun control may be driven by current events – particularly high-profile police killings inStaten Island, N.Y., and Ferguson, Mo., a gun control advocate says. 
In 2012, 48 percent of Americans in a Pew survey said guns do more to protect people than place them at risk. According to a survey released Wednesday, that number has increased to 57 percent. 
The shift was even more substantial among African-Americans, going from 29 percent in early 2013 to 54 percent now (though with a margin of error of almost 10 percent due to a small sample size).
Color me shocked! I mean, African-Americans! Who could imagine that African-Americans would stand there watching their businesses and their lives go up in flames in Ferguson and thing, hmmmmmm…is there a way I could have stopped this?

I do love this quote from my brother the Right Reverend Kenn Blanchard:
He adds: “There’s a racial divide, too, that the anti-gun people have been using to suggest that white people don’t want black people to have firearms. But what I see are my white brothers, the old geezers, who are saying to the younger black generation: ‘Here’s a gun, I’ll show you how to shoot it.’”
Speaking as one of those old geezers, amen! I once had a wonderful dinner with Reverend Kenn and his congregation. I note from his website that he's a Tavor fan as well.

I also want to send you to a great blogpost from Matt over at Jerking the Trigger on setting priorities:
Why do people still refuse to use weapon lights? Perhaps they have prioritized the possibility that the light might draw fire over shooting dark, unidentified shapes in the night. I suspect many have learned the same safety rules as I have and yet, they conveniently throw out Rule 4 when it comes to weapon lights.
I was talking to Kevin Creighton from Misfires and Light Strikes this week and he was bemoaning the existence of an AR-15 in the Rock Island .22 TCM caliber (he talks about it on his blog at the link above). I kinda agree with him…considering the TCM is based on a .223, the bolt's not an issue. When I head out to the gun room this AM I'm going to see whether the TCM will feed from a standard Colt 32-round or Glock 9mm…that would be the only breaking point. I've shot the 5.7 X 28 upper, and it was really a cool (and loud) little gun. A TCM AR pistol with The Brace would make a neat little truck gun…I like the cartridge.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

African Always Wins...


That's $900 worth of an impala pedestal mount trophy. Note the shards of bones, brittle probably from being boiled too long. No, it's not a world record impala, or even a particularly great impala. But it was the result of a long, hot stalk and a long shot that I was proud of.

Sorry for the crummy pixs, but I's sort of running out of the house.

My plan now is to take the remnants of the impala and the kudu (where I'm having trouble remounting the horns to the skull) to a really highly recommend local guy in Ft. Collin who specializes in horn and skull mounts and pay for his hep. I think the impala can be remounted as simply a horn mount.

The packing on these trophies was simply terrible. The trophies were wrapped in "bubble wrap," the the wrap was old or reused and had apparently lost most of of its "bubbles." In effect, it was like wrapping the trophies in multiple layers of Saran Wrap. The trophies were then dumped in a cardboard box and cover with shredded paper...shredded paper! The pedestal mount is fragile...it should have been crated, not tossed into a box!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Been Running Around All Day...

…picked up trophies from last year's African hunt. The impala pedestal mount was completely destroyed…will post pictures tomorrow. Very disappointing…I'ver seen better packing from 8 year olds.

Interestingly enough, I spent some time (not nearly enough time, I might add) on my .22 "challenge" course with the Clark Ruger 10-22. Man, what a different between bench shooting and field shooting -- exactly why I set up the challenge course! I'm pretty good at 80 yards and in, but not so much at the longer distances. I was holding over, but I think I can do a lot better if I run the numbers on Mini-Mags and then dial the scope up…at least, that's what I'm telling myself. .22s aren't laser beams. It's supposed to be nice tomorrow, and I may sneak out and run the long stages again. Yes, I know I said I'd be practicing cowboy, but there's something hypnotic about a hard training stage. Shooting off sticks is definitely a weak spot for me, something I haven't practiced until recently.

Here's a plug for a great sponsor -- Streamlight has added a "AA" battery version of their Siege lantern. I mention it because Streamlight Sieges are a mainstay here at the off-grid SHBII. Living off-grid, you get used to going to a battery powered lantern instead of that switch on the wall…especially after a run of cloudy days. In the older Secret Hidden Bunker, where the power went out for hours at a time, the Sieges got a lot of work.

Tomorrow on the podcast I want to talk a little about the New York grand jury decision…a very different situation than the grand jury decision in Ferguson.

Nite nite for now...




Friday, December 05, 2014

My .22 Rifles!

Okay, I played hooky today and went down to the range with my veteran 10/22 and the Ruger American .22 bolt gun to dial them in with new scopes. Here's the 10/22:


It's gone through a lot of iterations since it emerged from the factory as a heavy barrel 10/22 Target Version ages ago. The current version includes:

Volquartsen TG2000 trigger group
Factory Ruger bolt
Factory Ruger laminated stock
Clark Custom Guns deep-fluted .920 match barrel

The first 3 rounds on target out of the barrel scope combo went into 1 hole at 50 yards. Here's my "reference" 50-yard 5-shot off the bench group:


You can see I pulled one a tiny bit out of the 4 shots touching group. I shot several brands of .22, and the CCI Mini-Mags produced the reference group.

I also carted out my Ruger American Rimfire Compact "hunter training rifle." I added the Boyd "bumble-bee" Hunter stock specifically to "heavy" the rifle up and make it feel more like my centerfire rifles. Scope is a Burris 2-7x Droptine on Weaver #12 bases.


The groups were almost as good as the 10/22:


These groups, also at 50 yards, were with Eley Edge, which has been an amazing round out of this rifle…I used it in the big Tactical Solution NSSF Rimfire match in Idaho. I think\ I can tighten these groups up with a little practice. I also spent some time with the American on my Challenge Course, doing offhand plates at 25, 35, 50 and 80 yards. Turns out if you don't work the bolt, the gun doesn't go bang.

This is my "play" .22, a Tactical Solutions X-Ring with the wonderful Vantage stock with the SBX barrel option. It's fitted with a bulletproof Burris Speed Dot red dot. This is my NSSF Rimfire rifle.


It's amazing how quick this set-up is! If you're looking for a fun gun to shoot, or you've got a Spousal Unit or teenager involved in NSSF Rimfire, this is definitely the way to go!

I have one other longer term project that I didn't take out to the range…a Marlin 2000L biathlon rifle (I actually shot it in Summer Biathlon) that I want to set up as a long-distance shooting trainer. I was inspired by this story from F-TR Class champion James Croft, who's using a CMP surplus Remington 40X custom .22 as a trainer for F-Class. Kinda cool!